Archive for December 26th, 2008

The Brazilian Experience

Friday, December 26th, 2008

As I’ve mentioned repeatedly in past posts, simply creating harsher drunk driving laws and penalties and increasing enforcement has not proven effective.  The simple fact is that despite MADD’s hysterical "War on Drunk Driving", the DUI-related fatality statistics have remained unchanged over the past dozen years.  See MADDness and MADD Statistics Again Debunked.

Perhaps we can draw a lesson from our neighbors to the south:


Beer-Loving Brazilians Adapt to the "Dry Law"

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  Dec. 22  -  …Six months ago, the government imposed one of the strictest drunken-driving laws in the hemisphere, what people here call the "dry law." Anyone caught driving with a blood alcohol content of .02 percent or higher (compared with .08 in the United States) faces a $400 fine, loss of their license for a year, an impounded vehicle and jail time…

The dry law, introduced in June, hit the country like a cold shower. Police swarmed the streets outside night spots in major cities, setting up sobriety-test checkpoints, handing out fines and seizing licenses. More than 5,000 people have been cited under the law, which joined a measure this year limiting the sale of alcohol along federal highways.

But it is difficult to say how well the new law is working — or whether Brazilians’ behavior has changed much…

The statistics suggest the roads are no safer than before. In the law’s first five months, the number of car accidents on federal highways in Rio de Janeiro state rose 17 percent, compared with the same period in the previous year. Injuries also rose, by 32 percent, although deaths fell by 8 percent, according to police.

Across the country, the picture appeared worse. In those five months, accidents, injuries and deaths on federal highways increased over the previous five months…


Einstein used to define "insanity" as "doing the same thing over and over and always expecting a different result".

Perhaps it’s time for a different approach, one focused on problem drinkers rather than on Draconian laws and unconstitutional procedures.  See my post Time for a Change.
 

Share